Semester in Alternate Realities

Course Instructors

Bernhard Riecke is Associate Professor and directs the iSpace Lab at SFU’s School of Interactive Arts and Technology (SIAT). He likes to go beyond traditional disciplinary boundaries, combining natural sciences approaches (being a physicist by training) with human-centered and creative approaches (drawing from Psychology, Cognitive Science, Meditation, HCI, Design, and Art) using immersive Virtual Reality (VR).

Starting off researching how we orient and move through real and virtual space, he is increasingly interested in exploring how we could utilize the potential of multi-sensory “extended realities” like Virtual and Mixed Reality to foster meaningful or even pivotal experiences and profound emotional shifts that we might otherwise never be able to experience. After researching for a decade in the Virtual Reality Group of the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics in Tübingen, Germany and working as a post-doctoral researcher at Vanderbilt University and UC Santa Barbara, Bernhard joined SFU in 2008. Bernhard teaches classes on immersive environments/Virtual Reality, game design, human-computer interaction and cognition, and research methods and recently gave a TEDx talk on the potential of Virtual Reality.

Patrick Pennefather has led development teams in the co-construction of VR, AR, MR and hybrid xR applications and experiences. As a founding faculty of the MDM Program, he facilitates and investigates pipeline development in the xR space. He is actively integrating immersive technology in the performing arts, currently prototyping geo-locatable augmented dance and music with dance company Small Stage.